Re: Please RSVP... (was: US-ASCII)

From: John Cowan (
Date: Sat Dec 11 2004 - 11:21:51 CST

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    Philippe Verdy scripsit:

    > Didn't know that. Is this a very recent use?

    It's been used as an English verb, adjective, and noun for 30-40 years
    and perhaps much longer: see below.

    > In France, I think that RSVP was introduced and widely used at end of
    > telegraphic messages (that contained lots of conventional acronyms), it
    > survived at the time of telex, but now it is renewed with SMS messages on
    > cellular phones, but is rarely used in emails.
    > May be this was introduced in English at the old time of telegraphs as a
    > useful abbreviation, but with a different meaning when it is used as a
    > verb for saying "reply as requested"?

    As far as I know, they were first used in formal invitations (to weddings,
    funerals, dances, etc.) in the corner of the card, as both shorter and
    more fancy than the older phrase "The favor of your reply is requested".
    Later came the "RSVP card", a small card included with the invitation
    for the invitee to respond with. "An RSVP" of course means "a reply to
    an invitation marked 'RSVP'."

    My corporate data's a mess!                     John Cowan
    It's all semi-structured, no less.    
        But I'll be carefree              
        Using XSLT                        
    On an XML DBMS.

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